"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

21 August 2010

Mob Meditations

For the first time since we moved here, we'll not be attending the Blues Fest. To say our hearts were not in it would be an anatomical given, seeing as that coronary muscle is located within the chest cavity. One of the bands that's been there the other times, which is pretty good live, but has yet to translate that mojo to an album, wasn't going to perform. It would cost to get in and the beer, whilst from respectable breweries, might only be the reviled 3.2-seriously. There was also the observation my father made; it was like a renaissance festival, one could go to one such event, and then not go for ten years, and very little, if anything, would have changed.

There were gin and juke joints, coffee houses, and pool halls like that in the city, which I encountered. Some seemed to find comfort in such things. I would find these places perversely fascinating, but also rather terrifying.

Another aspect was the auspice of crowds. I am a paradoxically misanthropic bastard. One of my favorite hobbies to this day is to monkey watch. Still, throw me into a pack of them, and I become uneasy. I cannot help but wonder if moving away from a metropolitan area, and back into in-between places, has made this aspect of my psyche worse, or at least more pronounced.

The show I went to with Sabina was rather good. The band was enjoyable and they played a few songs that I liked. Be that as it may, at one point, it hit me that I was surrounded by several thousand other hominids who were clapping, singing along, making various yowls and yips, and pumping their fists in the air. From a shamanic standpoint, perhaps they were caught up in ritual ecstasy, but that's not what I saw. I saw a lynch mob.

I do not blame the band for this. I've seen the same thing at other concerts with other bands. Being entertainers, they do milk this ecstasy, riding the snake's tail for all it's worth. I've observed the same glazed over, caught-up-in-the-tide-of-the-crowd looks at various religious services and rituals, and the few sporting events I've ended up at as well. It terrifies me.

It is not without a sense of irony that I note one of the songs I liked at that show was called Witch Hunt, a tune describing in vivid and disturbing detail the dangers of a lynch mob...

I often will say my greatest fear is pitch blackness, mostly because of being rendered utterly blind. My irrational animal fear is sharks, although I am also fascinated by them and will watch documentaries on them, those being my horror films and further proving my hypocrisies. Still, when it comes down to brass tacks and bedposts, perhaps my greatest fear is Homo sapiens when you get them into groups of two or more. The herd. Packs. A mob.

Then again, perhaps I just have bad wiring, which leads to me being a paradoxical misanthrope. Perhaps not every crowd is a herd on the verge of stampede, a pack on the precipice of a feeding frenzy, or zealot's mob getting ready to beat and burn their chosen bugaboo. Maybe I should try harder to give myself over to that ritual ecstasy, thus facing my fear, instead of being its thrall.

Whatever the answer, it does seem I have gotten more misanthropic and less willing to deal with large crowds. Good or ill, there it is. I'm sure there are some, more social than I, who would see this as horrible, and yet, perhaps most horrible of all, is I really don't mind being this way. I have always been a watcher, because, well, I like to watch. And, it seems one of the best ways to observe is from the outside looking in.

Perhaps it's just my hypocrisy knows no bounds, but I bet ya'll probably already guessed that...

No comments:

Post a Comment